Author Topic: The Conditions of Winning & The Stranger  (Read 457 times)

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Neversummerdrew

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The Conditions of Winning & The Stranger
« on: July 20, 2017, 06:26:48 AM »
Dear League of Geeks Developers,

First of all, let me say you have created an awesome game!  I love Armello and my only wish is that it was also a real table-top game.  My friends and I would love to sit around the gaming table and roll dice together as we experience this game.  I hope that at some time in the future you consider creating a physical, table-top version of this game.  If you crowdfunded such an endeavor you would see the support and love fly in like never before.

However, this is not why I am here today.  Today I have 3 questions / suggestions for Armello:

1.  I would like to discuss the only aspect of the game that I am not a huge fan of and enquire about the possibility of implementing a house rule.  Namely, I do not enjoy the prestige win condition.  I know that many people have argued that this condition is too easy to achieve, and that may very well be true.  However, more than that, for me, is the fact that I feel like the prestige victory condition ignores the major story-line-point of the game.  What if the only victory conditions were those that are currently in the game minus the prestige victor?  Prestige would still be used to capture the ear of the king and, therefore, influence the course of the game, but victory would only be achievable though killing the king or healing him.

If this game actually did come in a physical, table-top version, this would be a house rule I would implement immediately.  That is, the only victory condition is one where the king has been usurped/assassinated/killed/coup-ed or where the king is healed and, with him, the land.

What do you guys think?  Does this suggestion go against some spirit or design element of the game that I am overlooking?

2.  My second question/suggestions has to do with The Stranger.  While playing earlier today against the AI, I attempted to enter the castle with Thane and kill the king 3 times.  The first two times I attempted and failed the castle challenge and was summarily kicked out.  The third time I attempted to enter the castle I did not have to complete a challenge.  Rather, I was allowed to proceed directly to the king.  I could not figure out why this might be.  The only difference with my character was that between my 2nd and 3rd attempts to enter the castle, I acquired The Stranger.  Now, I have searched online in vain to discover whether or not The Stranger allows you to skip the castle challenge before engaging in battle with the king, but I have not been able to find an answer to that question.  Was this just a weird game glitch or did The Stranger (whom the king greeted and then kicked out of the castle after The Stranger had a chance to respond by saying "That is no way to treat a friend") have something to do with me not having to complete the castle challenge.  Or is there another possible reason that I may not be aware of?

3.  Finally, I would like to enquire whether there are any differences to the different sides of the castle from which you have the option of breeching?  If not, have you considered aligning each possible side of the castle to one of the stats of the heroes, much in the same way that certain quests test certain hero attributes.  One side of the castle could be a sprit challenge, and another could be a wits challenge, etc.  For example, the maze would make an excellent wits challenge. 

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my questions and feedback.  I know that you all must be busy and I appreciate your time and attention.

And, again, thank you for the awesome game Armello!

Sincerely,
Andrew Holder

P.S.  PLEASE TURN THIS INTO A TALBE-TOP BOARD GAME!!!!!  :O)

Wessolf27

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Re: The Conditions of Winning & The Stranger
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2017, 09:54:24 AM »
I kinda need to point out a few things considering the suggestions you've given.

1) The Prestige victory condition is there because there will be a chance where no player can reach the castle in time to stop the king, while this seems like it lacks agency, it's there for three things:

A ) The King's HP acts like a limit to the number of turns in the game. At the same time, it shows that the King is just as likely to fall from the rot as any player who is infected or corrupted would be.
B ) The Prestige Victory condition is another way of winning the game without needing to fight the King. The only other method for that is the Spirit Stone Victory, which still requires you to at least fight the King's Guard and/or players. Remember that some characters like Twiss or Sargon aren't especially suited for fighting, and have to rely on other means to win the game.
C ) The victory condition is the main incentive for earning Prestige in the first place. Without it, there is little other reason for you to collect it other than being a prestige leader. Some Trickery cards also use these points as their cost, and are often used in cards that have somewhat expensive costs. Like burning down a forest. It's supposed to make you second guess whether or not it's a good idea to use a card when it has a chance of taking you out of the prestige race.

Also, what do you think should happen once the King reaches 0 HP instead? Should everyone lose regardless of their prestige? The game can't last forever.


2) There are many reasons why that might be the case: Either a previous player had already completed the peril on the tile you stepped on, or the previous player had been a prestige leader and used one of the King's late game edicts that would have removed perils in place of more guards. It's also possible that you had completed a quest that allows you to gain access to the castle without having to face a peril.

Other than that, the Stranger really doesn't have any effect on you save taking a slot and moving you around. He's supposed to be banished the moment you've secured a spot in the palace.

3) Did you notice the banners on the palace tiles? They've got shapes that indicate whether it requires Wits (Chalice) or Spirit (Flames) to overcome it. That's usually a factor. Also note that peril conditions are fixed. So Wits palace challenges are always Wyld, Rot, Sword, Shield. Spirit is Wyld, Rot, Sun, Moon
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Neversummerdrew

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Re: The Conditions of Winning & The Stranger
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2017, 03:10:28 PM »
Thank you for feedback and the answers to my questions.  You have given me a lot to think about.

In answer to your question of what I would do should the prestige victory condition be removed and the game ends (the king dies) with no one having defeated or cured him, of whether everyone should lose, I would answer yes.  Yes, I would much rather the game end in stalemate, rather than someone lose by way of prestige, as is the current method.  I also believe that such a system would encourage more people to be more aggressive and risky in attempting to get to the king.

I would have to disagree with you that the prestige victory condition is the main reason to collect prestige.  I have never sought after, nor won, a prestige victory.  For me, the main reason to collect prestige is to have the ear of the king and be able to effect the board as the game develops.

After having spent some more time thinking about the prestige victory condition today, I did see how working towards a prestige victory also, in some ways, requires the player doing so to be more vigilant in trying to keep other players from reaching, or getting into, the keep.  I can acknowledge and appreciate a certain level of strategy there that makes the prestige victory condition slightly more appealing to me as a mechanic. 

Overall, however, I think you could remove the prestige victory condition, but leave prestige as a mechanic in the game, and have a less frustrating gaming experience for players.  The prestige victory is easy to get (as many have already pointed out). It is sort of the "lazy man's" way to a win.  It is also very difficult to catch up with a player who garners a high prestige point value right out of the gate.  I have been in games where players routinely have 14 to 16 prestige and the king only has three health left.  A win of this kind is very, very frustrating to the other players and makes you feel like you have been cheated.  Now, I understand that this is not the case.  Players are not "cheated" when another wins by way of prestige points.  But it can certainly feel that way.  And, not only is perceptions 9/10 of reality, but - if I were a game designer - any game mechanic that sends my players away feeling that way is a game mechanic that I would quickly want to reassess.  And, it is plain to see from the forums, both here and on Steam, that I am not the only player frustrated by the prestige victory condition.

Just something to think on, for everyone, I suppose.  As I said in my OP, if I was throwing down a physical, table-top version of this game (which I really, REALLY hope I get the chance to do someday soon), I would house rule out the prestige victory condition. 

But, you may be right.  Probably are.  Either way, I appreciate the friendly debate as well as all of the feedback in answer to my questions.  In response to your final answer to my final question, no, I never did notice the banners around the keep with symbols on them!  I will have to watch more carefully the next time I play.

Prestige victory or not prestige victory, Armello is still one of the greatest games I have ever played. 

Kletian999

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Re: The Conditions of Winning & The Stranger
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2017, 08:49:18 PM »
There already exists a Houserule that turns off "Dawn damage" for the King; making the Prestige win only happen on a failed Kingslay.  It makes the game go forever until someone has 4 stones or Rotlords (because everyone gets infected if the game goes long enough.  You are welcome to try it with friends/AIs.  As for the option that leaves Dawn damage in but "no one wins" whenever prestige happens; that's not fair to low fight characters.  There are games where RNG means there just ISN'T going to be 4 stones to collect in time.   No one wants to play a game where if you don't buff fight it becomes literally impossible to win.

The Prestige victory is only easy to get versus AI or inexperienced opponents.  The better the opponent, the more likely the quest chain will finish, or the peril will be cracked while the king still has 3 HP left.   It's not easy to defend the king for 5+ turns without the perils to help.

You aren't alone in asking for a physical version; but the word from the devs is that they run a physical version for playtesting and it's not a viable product.  It takes 2 human players WHOLLY devoted to dividing the calculations and NPC activities (i.e. GMing the game) to make it run at a speed that's even slower than the slowest multiplayer game.   Also consider Armello has quality visual assets that become very expensive to produce physically (and all their music assets would be wasted on a physical).   Consider that many games just hand out simple wooden cubes for pieces and still have to retail for $50+ to be a profitable product. 

As someone who has kickstarted multiple boardgames; I can tell you that if you don't control manufacturing and shipping facilities, the project is going to run way over budget, under quality, and be delayed.  LoG is a tiny collection of software developers that 7 years ago had no jobs and no capital other than their houses.  It'd be financial suicide to try and sell physical Armello as they are.  The best case scenario would be to sell the rights to an existing boardgame company- and LoG would rather hold onto the IP so they can have full leverage expanding the world and lore.

The Perils are arranged so that each player can equally (barring bad mountain position) reach either a Wit or Spirit Peril in the same number of moves from their home.  The perils are fixed so the Maze peril is on the maze tile.  I do agree it'd be thematically better if Mother's Maze was Wits and the Fool's Fountain was Spirit, but it might require visual adjustment to keep the alternation of required stat.

Neversummerdrew

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Re: The Conditions of Winning & The Stranger
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2017, 03:33:36 PM »

You aren't alone in asking for a physical version; but the word from the devs is that they run a physical version for playtesting and it's not a viable product.  It takes 2 human players WHOLLY devoted to dividing the calculations and NPC activities (i.e. GMing the game) to make it run at a speed that's even slower than the slowest multiplayer game.   Also consider Armello has quality visual assets that become very expensive to produce physically (and all their music assets would be wasted on a physical).   Consider that many games just hand out simple wooden cubes for pieces and still have to retail for $50+ to be a profitable product. 

As someone who has kickstarted multiple boardgames; I can tell you that if you don't control manufacturing and shipping facilities, the project is going to run way over budget, under quality, and be delayed.  LoG is a tiny collection of software developers that 7 years ago had no jobs and no capital other than their houses.  It'd be financial suicide to try and sell physical Armello as they are.  The best case scenario would be to sell the rights to an existing boardgame company- and LoG would rather hold onto the IP so they can have full leverage expanding the world and lore.


I MUST disagree with you sir, especially before you go putting bad ideas into LOGs' heads!!!  :O)

1)  There is absolutely no game mechanic currently in Armello, that is executed by the AI, that can not be reproduce through simple and innovative mechanics that hundreds (if not thousands) of table-top games aren't already doing.  Complicated game mechanics that, supposedly, would be impossible to reproduce by a physical copy of the game and/or a human has been, in the past, touted as the strongest argument against bringing Armello to life in physical, table-top form, and it is a flawed and misguided argument.  It just simply is not true. 

2)  The argument that Armello would simply be too expensive to print and bring to market is also not correct.  Normally, you would be correct, if we were talking about a company starting from scratch with the idea of an Armello-type product, especially given the level of quality that the game already posses.  However, the most expensive part of that process has already been completed, that is the commissioning and licensing of the beautiful artwork within the game.  To reproduce this artwork, which LOG legally owns the rights to, onto cards, cardboard pieces, etc. is such an insignificant cost in the grand scheme of things it is not even worth mentioning. 

3)  Now, you are correct, I believe, that LOG would probably not want to produce the game themselves, but, rather, license the production out to a 3rd party under LOG's careful eye.  Yes, this can incur costs.  Yes this can create shipping delays (which in turn create added costs).  But, LOG would hardly be the only company licensing out a game for production.  Many, if not most, other companies and kickstarters have, and are, doing it, and to great success.  Also, this does no, mean that LOG has to lose the rights to Armello.  Far from it.  In fact, most board game companies do not produce their own physical product.  Most of these companies resource out the production of their games to 3rd party companies, and they do not have to give up the licensing and rights to do it.

Finally, I would simply add that we are currently living in an renaissance era, not only for table-top gaming, - the likes of which we have never seen before - but also in a renaissance of cheaper and faster manufacturing and production (I cite for example the changes that have been brought to the industry through new technologies like 3D printing).  There is simply no logistical, mechanical, manufacturing, or productive excuse for not brining a game as beautiful and fantastic as Armello to table-tops today. 

Actually, I take that back.  There are, precisely, two legitimate excuses for not bringing Armello to table-tops as a physical board game:

     Excuse # 1)  Nobody wants it / nobody would buy it
     Excuse # 2)  League of Geeks simply does not want to.

As far as excuse # 2 is concerned, I just can't believe that this is the case, especially if there is a greater audience to be had for their products, and profits to be made from the growth and recognition of their company.  *shrugs*  It is their baby though to do with as they please.  I just refuse to believe that, while bringing Armello to physical, table-top form may not be their top priority, it isn't something LOG wouldn't like to see happen in the future, assuming that the demand is there.

Which brings us to excuse # 1, to which there is a simple and elegant solution.  Kickstart it.  Kickstart the project and let the community of gammers out there tell LOG whether or not they would be wasting their time with this endeavor.

I do respect your opinions, please do not misunderstand me, and I do think you make some good points.  But I see this all too often in forums when excited fans of this game or that (digital or physical) suggest that they would like to see one thing or another happen, or brought to life,  and then their dreams are immediately crushed by the nay-sayers who can not see the potential staring them right in the face.  I believe our voices on here matter to LOG.  I also think they know better than anyone whether or not Amarillo could or should be brought to life in physical form for gamers everywhere to enjoy. I also believe that it is important of the current community of gamers who have fallen in love with this game to speak up and let LOG know that we support them and that we would like to see this product come to life. 

There is absolutely nothing holding LOG back - absolutely nothing- from bringing Armello to table-top in physical form.  Nothing, that is, except LOG themselves, and the potential question of demand, which I believe to be a laughable question.  Of course there is the demand!

I, for one, believe and hold out hope that it is only a matter of time before we see a physical copy of Armello produced.  And, if LOG wants to kickstart it right now, I will open up my wallet for them right now.  And so would thousands of other people.

;O)

Phlox

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Re: The Conditions of Winning & The Stranger
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2017, 07:11:24 PM »
Sorry to intervene here, but there have been numerous pleads for bringing Armello to the kitchen table (and yes, when I was about 1,5 years younger, I asked for it too).

If you search the Steam forums for this, you'll get numerous threads all with the same two answers:

1. Armello can't easily be transformed into a physical boardgame (the reasons for it are in Kletians thread) and won't be fun to play in the second place and

2. the Devs have neither ressources nor the intention to do it.

We all dream of playing Armello in a round of our friends sitting at a table together like we play with them online...but in the end it is a dream. Sometimes it can be very disappointing when dreams come true and you realize the reality won't feel as good as you dreamt. I think continously asking for something that won't become reality is a waste of time.
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Kletian999

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Re: The Conditions of Winning & The Stranger
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2017, 11:51:08 PM »



I MUST disagree with you sir, especially before you go putting bad ideas into LOGs' heads!!!  :O)

1)  There is absolutely no game mechanic currently in Armello, that is executed by the AI, that can not be reproduce

2)  The argument that Armello would simply be too expensive to print and bring to market is also not correct. 

3)  Now, you are correct, I believe, that LOG would probably not want to produce the game themselves, but, rather, license the production out to a 3rd party under LOG's careful eye.  Yes, this can incur costs. 

Finally, I would simply add that we are currently living in an renaissance era, not only for table-top gaming, - the likes of which we have never seen before - but also in a renaissance of cheaper and faster manufacturing and production (I cite for example the changes that have been brought to the industry through new technologies like 3D printing).  There is simply no logistical, mechanical, manufacturing, or productive excuse for not brining a game as beautiful and fantastic as Armello to table-tops today. 


;O)

I respect your objections, but I feel I should elaborate further:

1. Yes, they reproduced them, that's how they prototype.  Do they, the developers find the solutions fun or reasonable to execute in a time senstive manner especailly among players new to the game?   Sadly no.  Every time I buy a new boardgame I have to spend time reading the rules so I know they not just enough to play, but to teach and mediate with whoever I'm playing with.  Armello does some "crazy things" like having DICE ORDER matter in a 12+ dice battle that having a computer do is the only sane and fair resolution (imagine rolling combat one die at a time).

2.  Any kind of physical material production is a potential loss compared to software's $0 reproduction cost.  Cardboard may be cheap but minatures are not.  2-4 inch tall 3d printed minatures cost $50.  Even if production is cheap; box packing, storage, and shipment much less so.  The projects I saw flouder (Oh my god, axe in head; Healing Blade, defenders of Soma) did not have issues with their Artist IP; it was printing price quotes being far lower than the bills, the output of said processes being below expected quality, etc.

3. I'll concede it's possible there's better ways to license a game for physical production than the ones I observed, but I have not observed such better methods.


Probably the biggest objection not yet mentioned: Armello is not finished.  It continues to evolve as they add characters, tweak CORE mechanics, repurpose cards, etc.  If they really wanted to make a physical version: they'd likely wait until they were done patching the game so to not introduce obsolescence.